In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing…but which Whitridge twin is the right groom?
The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!
Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .
Maxwell's second Marrying the Duke Regency (after Match of the Century) is well written, with sharp historical accuracy and a slightly feminist bent. Beautiful Charlene is a penniless orphan, with only her family's good name to attract potential suitors. She's the ward of her actress aunt, and she enjoys their female-only household, but financial pressures require her to seek a wealthy husband. Enter Jack Whitridge, who manages to cross Charlene's path in the most hilarious way. Seventeen years before, Jack abruptly left England, telling no one that he was leaving or where he was going. Now he returns to London to beg his twin brother, the Duke of Baynton, to support the fledgling nation of America, and he has no time for women but coincidentally, he shows up on the night of the ball that's intended to find the duke a wife. Readers are transported back to the time of grand balls and Gretna Green, and the romance is tinged with the faintest whiff of wartime gunpowder. Smart dialogue, a strong plot, and simmering politics make for a delicious read.
a wonderful installment to the series, one that stands alone without issue, keeping readers engaged
Charlotte has everything the daughter of an Earl would need to make a successful marriage: beauty, brains, and the knowledge that an advantageous marriage is in her future. But she has debts to settle from her father’s poor money management, and making a living as a titled female is not the easiest. Using her cleverness and talents to her advantage, she’s been dressing as a boy and venturing out to pick the pockets of unsuspecting gentlemen when they are otherwise engaged. The thrill and the adrenaline rush fuel her need for extraordinary moments, but the stage has been set for her introduction and betrothal to a Duke.
Gavin is a bit more than a touch uptight, now trying again to find a suitable bride. His attention has been turned to Charlotte with the knowledge that her breeding and beauty are impeccable, and she has certainly managed to catch his eye. But, a series of unexpected events, including the return of his long lost twin, Jack, from America could prove problematic. For unbeknownst to Gavin, Jack is the man who almost unmasked Charlotte as the pickpocket that targeted his friend, although he had never seen her face, the impression of the daring, bold and scandalous woman dressed as a boy has stuck with him.
Maxwell has a knack for building the atmosphere in which her stories exist, allowing the reader to feel the conflict and tensions in the characters, while easily finding something to appreciate in each. Sure Charlotte is empathetic as she struggles to pay off debts that are not her own by a very unique approach. The Duke, even as rigid, proper and inflexible as he appears is worth more than a few moments of empathy with his childhood story as the weight of the position he would come to inhabit were more important than his own happiness. Then there is Jack – disappearing for years only to arrive and be exactly what Charlotte wants, despite her need to marry the title. A complete conundrum that will have you on the edge of your seat: will she choose Gavin, the Duke: the man she should marry who has already lost one prospective bride to a man without the social standing of a title? Will Jack tell what he knows about Charlotte, as he is spending more time accompanying her per his brother’s desires, as his “intended’ needs a suitable companion while he is otherwise engaged in Duke-stuff. And poor Charlotte – there really isn’t a great field of proper choices in front of her: even though the chemistry between she and Jack is off the charts, can she actually forego the possibility of a titled husband.
Maxwell has added a wonderful installment to the series, one that stands alone without issue, keeping readers engaged and wondering to the last page.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.